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House Tours

The Johnston Collection is administered as an independent not-for-profit museum by The W R Johnston Trust.

PLEASE NOTE:    A $3.50 booking fee applies for online bookings. This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.  Thank you for your understanding.

Click on the blue arrow to the right of the screen to scroll through the calendar. 

House Tours descriptions appear below the calendar.

The Annual House of Ideas Tour
An Englishman Abroad: At Home in British India

Friday 18 July – Tuesday 21 October 2014 

We are delighted to have well-known historian, conservationist and author, Dr James Broadbent, as a guest curator for our annual House of Ideas series.

Following on from Akira Isogawa, Pascale Gomes McNabb, Romance was Born and Rosslynd Piggott, our House of Ideas series continues to offer an opportunity for creative individuals to reinterpret William Johnston’s collection in new ways.

In An Englishman Abroad: At Home in British India, Dr Broadbent will recreate British-style interiors found in India around the 1830s and explore the fascinating world of the British Raj.

An Englishman Abroad will focus on the early 19th century British-Indian items in the Collection, along with other elements of British-Indian culture and society during this period, concluding with the magnificent 'Government House Kolkata (Calcutta)' furniture.

In this house-museum tour, Dr Broadbent will recreate Fairhall as an early 19th century British colonial interior, providing visitors with an insight into what it was like to live as an Englishman in India at the time of British colonial rule of the subcontinent.

Dr Broadbent's particular area of study is colonial houses, their furnishings, gardens and the people that built and lived in them and he has worked extensively on the properties cared for by the Historic Houses Trust in NSW.

He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters and his publications, often complementing HHT exhibitions of the same theme and title, include: India, China, Australia: Trade and Society 1788-1850 (2003) and The Australian Colonial House: Architecture and Society in New South Wales 1788-1842 (1997).

Sir Charles D'Oyly (England 1781-1845) ,printed by Rudolph Ackermann, London, 1828, 'Tom Raw between smoke and fire', collection of the British Library, London, V 10555, plate 44

2014 Victorian Seniors Festival
5 – 12 October 2014

The Johnston Collection is proud to be part of the annual Victorian Seniors Festival. A special house-museum tour concession price of $18.00 (normally $21.00) will be offered to Seniors during the Festival.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Thursday 6 November 2014 – Wednesday 25 February 2015

This year our wonderful annual Christmas at The Johnston Collection tour will include contributing groups, societies, guilds and individual artists led by The Geelong Artisans Group.

Some 45 artists and craftspeople from the Geelong and the Surf Coast area, as part of the Geelong Artisans Group, have been busy putting the final touches to over 180 exquisite new creations which will feature in this year’s T'was The Night Before Christmas tour.

Participants include members of Geelong & District Porcelain Painters, Geelong Handweavers & Spinners Guild Inc, Geelong Patchworkers & Quilters’ Guild Inc, Leopold Lacemakers, The Bead Society of Victoria (Geelong branch), The Embroiderers Guild of Victoria (Geelong branch), The Trolly Dolly Cloth Doll Club Inc, as well as individual artists.

Geelong has created a truly inspiring project and we encourage you to book early for our popular house-museum tour.


Our Menu Tours offer three further ways to visit and enjoy The Johnston Collection. Choose one of these specialised guided house-museum tours and discover even more intriguing insights that are sure to nourish the mind.

Fairhall & Flowers
Thursday 31 July 2014, 12.00 noon
Tuesday 26 August 2014, 12.00 noon
Thursday 25 September 2014, 12.00 noon
Monday 6 October 2014, 12.00 noon

Let the flowers bloom! Be beguiled by the beauty of botany and the language of flowers on this new house-museum tour. Fairhall is full of flowers and foliage, floral and plant motifs used as embellishment and patterns on objects to bring the outside in all year ‘round.

detail from Swansea potteries, vase, Wales, circa 1815-1820, (A0643-1989)

Staffordshire Stories
Wednesday 23 July 2014, 12.00 noon 
Thursday 21 August 2014, 12.00 noon 
Monday 29 September 2014, 12.00 noon 
Friday 17 October 2014, 12.00 noon

Staffordshire Stories offers visitors the opportunity to focus on the Staffordshire figures that were of special interest to William Johnston and explore a wide variety of the popular and intriguing historical subjects they represent.

in the manner of the Parr factory, Staffordshire potteries district, figure (standing elephant with a mahout and leopard), England, circa 1850, The Johnston Collection (A0446-1989)
photograph by Mark Chew | Mark Chew Photography

Unlocking The Collection

Thursday 24 July 2014, 12.00 noon
Tuesday 12 August 2014, 12.00 noon
Wednesday 3 September 2014, 12.00 noon
Monday 20 October 2014, 12.00 noon

By ‘unlocking’ the doors, lids and covers of objects, this specially developed tour offers visitors the opportunity to see hidden aspects and interior details of items in Fairhall.

detail from Jean-David Fortainer (active 1730-1778) and Jean-Charles ELLAUME (active 1754-1780), bureau plat, France, 1745-1749, (A0029-1989)

Visitor Information:

Weekday Tour Times:

10:00 | 12:00 | 2.00

After Hours Tours:

Second Saturday at 10:00 and 12:00
Third Thursday at 18:00

Weekday Tour Cost (March 2014 - October 2014):

Adult $25.00
Concession $23.00
Group Rate $21.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22)
After Hours $32.00

Individual and group bookings available. Please note when booking a group online, enter the number of people in the Adult field and the Group Rate will be automatically calculated.

Christmas at The Johnston Collection (6 November 2014 – 24 February 2015)

Adult $27.00
Concession $25.00
Group Rate $23.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22)
After Hours $35.00


A $3.50 booking fees applies for online bookings.  This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.   Thank you for your understanding.

Online and telephone booking fees do not apply to current members of The Friends of The Johnston Collection.

Telephone bookings 03 9416 2515


Organisation and Club Bookings Policy

Telephone us on 03 9416 2515 for more information or download a copy of our policy here:

Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf (60kB)

Visiting The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection is the legacy of William Johnston, an antique dealer and collector. He left his estate to the people of Victoria for their education and enjoyment. The collection ranges from the 17th to the 19th century and has great strengths in Georgian, Regency and Louis XV furniture, Empire and decorative arts.

To protect the privacy and parking rights of Mr Johnston's residential neighbours, we are not permitted by our planning permit to publish the address of the museum.

On the day of the appointed visit, visitors will be collected from the foyer of the Hilton on the Park Hotel (Wellington Parade, near the Fitzroy Gardens). Visitors are brought to the Johnston Collection in a courtesy bus operated by our staff. This arrangement is due to planning permit stipulations and adds a little intrigue to your visit that we know you will enjoy.

All tickets are prepaid and tea/coffee and shortbread are served to guests on arrival. From the time of collection to the time of return to the Hilton on the Park your tour will take approximately one and a half hours.

We allow a maximum of 22 people on guided tours.

Disabled Access

Wheelchair access to Fairhall is limited. There are 3 steps to the entrance and 19 steps which must be ascended in order to reach the first floor. Disabled car parking is not available. Please make us aware of the special needs of any member of your group in advance of your arrival so that we can offer every assistance.

Please ring 03 9416 2515 for more information.